NORCO, Calif. (AP) - A wind-driven wildfire triggered evacuations Tuesday in an equestrian community in the inland region of Southern California, where little rain has fallen this winter.
The fire erupted shortly before 10 a.m. in a river bottom in Norco and quickly spread over 100 acres, Cal Fire Riverside County said.
About 500 homes and some 1,500 people were affected by mandatory and voluntary evacuations, Cal Fire Capt. Fernando Herrera told KTLA.
An elementary school was evacuated as a precaution, the Corona-Norco Unified School District said.
Evacuation centers were set up at two schools.
More than 200 firefighters and several helicopters were dispatched to the community of about 26,000 people about 40 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.
Winds were initially gusting at 30-40 mph but died down in the early afternoon and the forward spread of the fire slowed down, Herrera said.
“Things are looking a lot better,” he said. “Smoke is diminishing.”
Southwestern California just experienced one of the driest January-February combinations in recorded history, according to the National Weather Service.
— CAL FIRE Riverside (@CALFIRERRU) March 3, 2020